Rainbow Sprinkle Cake

by angelika on July 21, 2012

 

Poppy turned three and we had one heck of a rainbow party in her honor. The whole house was decked out in rainbow fashion, complete with a rainbow jumpy house and an entire menu of rainbow themed food. We had such a blast coming up with food for the rainbow party; the menu will appear here over the next week or so. The piece de resistance was absolutely our Rainbow Sprinkle Cake. It was a two tiered rainbow extravaganza. Colored layers of vanilla cake, covered in light and airy lemon swiss meringue buttercream, and bathed in rainbow sprinkles. (my kitchen as much as the cake. It’s been a week and I am still finding sprinkles in odd places)

I usually shy away from synthetic dyes, but I decided to let it slide this time finding that we are all happier if I take a “middle path” approach. Once in a great while won’t really hurt anyone, and the results of using gel coloring are so spectacular. I made this cake, sans sprinkles, for Poppy’s first birthday using vegetable based dyes, and it turned out beautifully. It was a pastel rainbow, as no matter how much dye I put in the batter it did not color deeply. For this cake I used gel dyes, and while synthetic, a little goes a long way. So in the grand scheme of things there are only a few drops of dye per cake.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Begin by preparing as many cake pans as you have with a parchment round. I lay the cake pan on the cutting board with the parchment below, and cut around the outside with a knife. Use shortening to grease the pans, under and on top of the parchment.

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium high speed.  Once the mixture is light and fluffy- about 4 minutes- add the egg whites one at a time, on medium low, until combined. Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture alternating with the milk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour. 

Divide the batter equally into 6 bowls. It is best to weight the batter, which I have done never. I just eyeball it and estimate by putting 1/2 cup of batter into each bowl in turn. But, in the end, I ended up with too much batter for my 8″ and not enough for the 10″. I would not have had that problem had I weighed. Yet another reason to get to the kitchen store and acquire a scale.

Whisk coloring into each bowl. It is immeasurably easier to purchase a set of gel colors which have all the colors of the rainbow. I bought mine on Amazon for about $15. When you have the colors ready, bake them off in as many pans as you have. I have two of each size, so I baked the red and orange together. Each layer should bake 12-15 minutes, or until the sides pull away and a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a plate and then place on a cooling rack. Keep the parchment round with the cake, it is easier to separate them that way, Clean out the pans and start the process again with the next colors. 

At this point I froze my cakes. I made them the week ahead of the party, and froze them wrapped very tightly in plastic wrap, and then covered in foil. This took a ton of stress off me the day of. I used to bake the cake first thing in the morning- this was way easier. Another added benefit is that icing a frozen cake is much easier! The morning of the party I made the Swiss meringue buttercream, and then decorated the cakes. It took me about an hour with cooling time.

In the bowl of the mixer, set over a pan of simmering water, gently heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves, whisking pretty constantly. This takes about 10 minutes. You are supposed to use a candy thermometer and wait for the mixture to come to 140º, but I usually just eye ball it. I test to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved by running a bit between my fingers to make sure I feel no sugar grain.

  

With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition. Remove the whisk and switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium high, beat until the buttercream comes together. About 5 minutes. Add the lemon extract (tip- if your buttercream fails to come together, and ends up a soupy mess, stick the whole bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes then beat it again. This is due to the butter getting too soft)

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand and cover the outsides with parchment or wax paper to cover the overspray. Top with 1/2 cup frosting and spread out all the way to the sides. Add the next layer and top with 1/2 cup frosting. Keep going until the red layer is on top. Add 1/2 cup or so of frosting and cover the whole cake with a crumb coat. Let the cake rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

 Take the cake back out of the fridge and frost the outside liberally with the swiss meringue buttercream. It’s by favorite part of the cake, so light and fresh tasting. You know, for sugar rich frosting. Get your outside as smooth as you can (not my strong suit) and then cover the outside with sprinkles. I did this in a completely messy and I am sure inefficient way. I poured 1/2 cup measures on the cake and smoothed them out with my hands. The to get the sides I poured the sprinkles in my hands and pressed them into the cake.

When I was done I actually had to vacuum the counter, as evidenced my the photo above. The truth though- it was super fun in a preschool play with your food kind of way.

If you want to make a tiered cake you will need supports for the top layer. I used candy sticks, the kind you would use at the end of a lollypop. Cut the sticks so that they are the same height as the lower tier of cake. Maybe 1/4″ taller, but no more. Place them in the cake in a circle just inside where the top layer will stand. Rest the top layer on the sticks. I used a bow to cover the area where the cakes join, but you could use icing as well. Carefully remove the paper and keep the cake at room temperature until you are ready to serve. 

 Me with my masterpiece cake, and spirals in my face. (and a theme appropriate outfit) With Q desperate for the first slice. Apparently we raise our hands for food at home. I’m running a tight ship I tell you! 

And Poppy, my rainbow big 3 year old with her new birthday best friend.

5.0 from 3 reviews

Rainbow Sprinkle Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
from Whisk Kid via Martha Stewart http://www.marthastewart.com/256688/rainbow-cake This recipe makes one 9″ cake. To make a tiered cake, double the recipe for one 10″ and one 8″. Divide the batter 60/40. The 60% is for the 10″ and the 40% for the 8″.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • vegetable shortening to grease pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2⅓ cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups milk, room temperature
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
  • -filling and crumb coat-
  • 9 large egg whites
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract
  • -frosting-
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • approximately 1 pound of rainbow sprinkles (for two cakes)
  • If making a tiered cake:
  • candy sticks to support the top layer
  • 8″ cardboard round for the top layer (10″ round optional)
Instructions
  1. Begin by preparing as many cake pans as you have with a parchment round. I lay the cale pan on the cutting board with the parchment below, and cut around the outside with a knife. Use shortening to grease the pans, under and on top of the parchment.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Sift together all the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium high speed. Once the mixture is light and fluffy- about 4 minutes- add the egg whites one at a time, on medium low, until combined. Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture alternating with the milk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour.
  4. Divide the batter equally into 6 bowls.
  5. Whisk coloring into each bowl.
  6. Each layer should bake 12-15 minutes, or until the sides pull away and a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a cooling rack. Clean out the pans and start the process again with the next colors.
  7. Make the Frosting-
  8. In the bowl of the mixer, set over a pan of simmering water, gently heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves, whisking pretty constantly. This takes about 10 minutes. You are supposed to use a candy thermometer and wait for the mixture to come to 140º, but I usually just eye ball it. I test to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved by running a bit between my fingers to make sure I feel no sugar grain.
  9. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition. Remove the whisk and switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium high, beat until the buttercream comes together. About 5 minutes. Add the lemon extract
  10. Place the purple layer on a cake stand and top with ½ cup of filling.
  11. Place the blue layer on top and top with ½ cup filling.
  12. Continue until the cake is filled, apply a thin coating of frosting all around and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  13. Make the frosting using the same method as filling.
  14. Forst the cake and cover the outside with sprinkles.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy July 22, 2012 at 4:58 am

Holy crap, I made the blog! Sadly, so did the part of the rainbow with the missing balloon–not that anybody but me will notice and I wouldn’t trade this picture for anything. I LOVE MY NIECE (AND NEPHEW . . . AND THEIR PARENTS!)

Reply

Fatih September 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

That’s awesome. Luckily my kids love apepls right now. But they’re too young to know any better. haha. I do think it would be a great fun dessert for a spring picnic.

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Madison @ Veggieful.com July 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

OMG! That is one amazing cake. I am jealous of your skills :)

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Amy July 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

What a beautiful cake!

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Guilla July 24, 2012 at 3:45 am

wow, incredible cake, I will try and make it one day, I have been wanting to find a rainbow cake. thank you for sharing

Reply

Windows 7 Ultimate Key August 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

Reply

Stephanie Swearingen September 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Amazing!!! That cake looks so cool! What a talent you have!! ;)

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Sommer@ASpicyPerspective October 23, 2012 at 1:38 am

This site stole your recipe: http://cookmee.com/rainbow-sprinkle-cake/ :(

Reply

angelika October 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

:( I don’t know what to do about that site!

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Sarah October 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

looks amazing!!!! I am planning to make this for my sister’s birthday party and I was wondering what kind of spreading knife do you use for the frosting and filling?

Reply

angelika October 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I use an offset spatula top spread the icing. I have a large one and a small one, and I tend to use the small one more. I find it easier to handle. :)

Reply

cheap north face November 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a awesome job with this. Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Safari. Superb Blog!

Reply

cheap north face November 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

Reply

Alexa January 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Beautiful cake! I love it and I’m going to try it (with modifications) this Friday for my daughter’s 5th birthday coming up this weekend. I have a question.. for the sake of simplicity, I’d like to use a white boxed cake mix. I’m going to do a 10-inch tie-dye layer cake and an 8-inch tie dye layer cake. Should I use 4 boxes for that? Thanks if you know the answer–please answer soon! Thanks!

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Obina March 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Great looking cake!! Looks like hard work but totally worth it. Love how the stripes of your t-shirt match the stripes of the cake :-) xxxx

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Betcy April 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I got cake on the brain! I’v been thinking about this cake since I found your site from pinterest. I mean really thinking about it. While im breastfeeding, showering, at the gym :) I’m going to try it out tomorrow doing a 10, 8, and 6 inch tiered version and plain buttercream – any time i mess around with buttercream my husband refuses to eat it. Can’t wait for my neighbor’s 8 yr old to cut into it! How cute.

Reply

Claudine August 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I love your cake! I was wondering, how many layers does your bottom tier have? Is the 60% batter (for 10 in) good for 2 pans or 4? :)

thanks!! :D

Reply

angelika August 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Both cakes have 6 layers, one for each color. The bottom cake is a larger cake so it takes 60% of the batter. The top cake is smaller so it takes 40%. You could also weigh it, to be more precise, but I did just eyeballed it. Good luck! Let me know how your cake turns out.

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